On Fitness @BenCobley

I tried to remind Ben Cobley today of an earlier conversation, when he used the word “fit”.

It’s a conversation I would like to continue with Ben, with whom I share many common views, since I think it helps us both. (When he – again – appeared to be “unaware” of the point we were discussing he assumed some passive-aggressive challenge on my part! Said I was “having a pop” ….

I have and continue to put a lot of effort into this dialogue. This was start of today’s conversation (latest first):

@psybertron you’ve lost me there – not aware I’ve ever even talked about that latter sense.

@bencobley No, quite the opposite. Just pointing out you keep using fit whilst denying “fittest” surviving in cultural evolution.

@psybertron is there something wrong with it in your eyes?

@bencobley that word “fit” again.

Being reasonable & being rational are different. Reasonable means fitting in with people around, while rational means fitting in with *me*.

Below is the last conversation 7 /8 days ago with Ben Cobley – but there have been previous occasions when I’ve talked “memetics” in problems with what gets understood in our culture. It’s a word I know he’s uncomfortable using, but the basic concept that ideas – and what constitutes rationality – spread through their evolutionary “fitness” is a key interest of mine – and his – whatever word he or I use for it. “Fit” is the word (Latest first)

(I am of course talking from 60 years of real empirical experience, and observing Ben’s own use of language in specific individual conversations, and using his choice of words – “fit” – how am I talking theory? I found this brush-off quite offensive.)

@bencobley no I’m talking real, existing reality. (Using words, obviously.)

@psybertron not necessarily – because fitting in isn’t a question of logic, it’s a political phenomenon, to use the lingo but not the logic.

@bencobley you used word “fit”. In evolutionary sense fit is about best fit to prevailing conditions – scientific logic prevails. QED?

@psybertron it’s less I’m not convinced by memes as I’m prejudiced against the word. There’s clearly something there, but I react against it

@bencobley as you said before, you’re not convinced by memes. (Memetic is just adjective – concerning memes)

@bencobley 2/2 cause of this problem is memetic. Exclusively scientific rationality is EASY to understand and communicate – but not good.

@bencobley 1/2 2nd part, you and I agree good rationalism is more than this – problem is too many see scientific logical rationale as whole.

@psybertron I don’t understand your first bit, but the second bit I’d say is a part of a bigger whole, of rationalism.

@bencobley that “fit” is memetic. The dominant fashion is “scientistic” – objective reductionism.

@bencobley problem is not logic per se, but the “objects” it works with.

What on earth is ‘rational thought’ anyway? There’s logic certainly, but logic works in straight lines – it cannot cover the whole.

It reminds me of the Engels line: “Everything must justify its existence before the judgment seat of Reason, or give up existence.”

In other words everything must fit in to the way I think or is illegitimate. This is how authoritarianism lingers in our world.

ViewConversation 8d


Post Note : What’s the point I’m trying to get us to agree, so we can move the conversation on ?


Ideas spread and catch-on because they “fit”
with the prevailing patterns of though and rationality
in their environment (what I call memetics)
NOT necessarily because they are “good” ideas.

And that includes thoughts and ideas
about reason, rationality and belief themselves.


And of course the previous conversation was not so long before that.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.